Social media's influence overstated?

A new report from JupiterResearch has questioned the tactic of targeting high value customers through social media sites, saying they may be more traditional in their online behaviour than social marketers think.

The research found that, although nearly 25% of all online adults are classed as influential ‘brand advocates’, they spend more time gathering product information and purchasing items than spreading the word through social media sites.


Polar Rose launches photo search tool in beta

Polar Rose is a Swedish startup that's developing photo search and facial recognition technology for use on the web. It has recently launched in a private beta.

Polar Rose aims to use the technology to make images on the internet as searchable as text documents and web pages. It raised $5.1m in funding from Nordic Venture Partners last year to develop its product.


Mahalo launches web search toolbar

Mahalo, the new search engine project launched recently by Jason Calacanis, has launched a toolbar to allow users to compare its results with other search engines.

The Mahalo Follow toolbar, available only for Firefox, allows you to view its human edited search results next to those of the other search engines, or else appear in response to other pages. For example, bringing up will generate SEO/marketing related results.


Glam Media to raise $200m war chest?

Glam Media, which runs a network of sites focused on women, is reported to be receiving another $200m (£99.5m) in funding, a whopping amount for a company that essentially doesn't own many online assets.

VentureBeat has a copy of the document (pdf) Glam has been sending out to potential investors, which trumpets the network's visitor numbers, reach and projected revenues.

Matt Marshall at VentureBeat also reckons that Glam will announce a deal with Google that will see the search engine power searches on 'Glam's sites'. This is news to many of the people that actually own these websites.


ISPs concerned about the iPlayer

UK ISPs have reportedly been expressing concerns about the BBC's new iPlayer service and saying the corporation should make a contribution towards the cost of delivering video across their networks.

Providers including BT and Tiscali are worried that having thousands of people receiving content from the BBC will increase the strain on their networks.


Q&A: WorkingMums founder Gillian Nissim

WorkingMums is a recently-launched online service in the UK that displays flexible jobs opprtunities for women.

Started last year by Gillian Nissim, a working Mum herself, the business has been profitable since November and has signed up 600 employers. We asked Gillian about her experiences of launching a start-up and her plans for the future.


House of Lords calls for action on online security

A House of Lords committee has called on the government to take more action on the issue of online fraud and security, calling the current policy 'unrealistic'.

The Lords' Science and Technology Committee, which has been investigating online security over the last six months, referred to the government's current policy as a 'Wild West' approach.

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'YouTube killer' bags $100m funding

The as yet unnamed joint online video venture from News Corp and NBC, touted as a 'YouTube killer', has received $100m (£49.5m) in funding from Providence Equity Partners.

The VC firm will take a 10% stake in the company, which gives it a valuation of $1bn (£495m) - not bad for a site that's as yet unlaunched and thus unproven.


London leads Europe in VC investment

London attracts more technology investment than any other city in Europe, with tech firms in the capital accounting for 8.2% of all European deals so far this year.

A study by Tornado Insider (via Alarm: Clock Euro) shows Berlin is also attracting more startups, taking 3.5% of all tech investment, and moving up from eighth place last year to third in 2007.


aQuantive shareholders clear Microsoft buyout

Shareholders of aQuantive have given the green light for the company’s $6bn purchase by Microsoft in a meeting that reportedly lasted for a little over six minutes.

The acquisition, which gives the Redmond giant ownership of ad technology provider Atlas, as well as interactive agency AvenueA and targeting tech company Drive PM, is now expected to close in the next few days.


P&G stalls online ad campaigns, blames 'metrics'

Oh dear. One of the biggest advertisers in the world is making bad noises about the internet, disguised as good noise. Who could it be?

In this case, it is Proctor & Gamble. The firm's corporate marketing director, Roisin Donnelly, has been talking to NMA. It made the front cover, under the banner: “Poor metrics curb ad spend.”

It pains me to inform a company with such deep pockets that they're wrong about all this, but as the following statements show, they seem badly off track.


Wal-Mart aims to woo Facebook users

Asda parent Wal-Mart is back in the social networking game after various high-profile mishaps – this time with a sponsored Facebook group for students.

Reuters reports that the retailing giant is inviting college-goers to design their dorm rooms on its page, before recommending products that fit in with their decorating style.